Please note: this page only includes artist bios, mediums, and links to their work. For a curated selection of images by all artists included here, browse the Hardly Un-American Image Gallery on Pinterest.
Oil, acrylic, watercolor
Miyoko Ito was born in Berkeley, California, to Japanese parents in 1918. A combination of economic hardship, racial discrimination and the desire for their young daughter to receive a traditional Japanese education led the Ito family to move to Japan in 1923. They arrived in Tokyo in the midst of the devastation wrought by the great Kanto earthquake. Shortly thereafter, Ito’s mother gave birth to a still-born son. These tragic events left a deep impression on Ito, who became extremely ill and for several months was totally incapacitated; by some accounts, much of Ito’s five-year stay in Japan was spent in convalescence. During this time Ito studied calligraphy and developed an interest in art. Upon returning to Berkeley in 1928 Ito was enrolled in the local public school and eventually entered the University of California at Berkeley. There, she gained her first exposure to School of Paris painting, the synthetic cubism of Picasso and Braque and Hans Hoffmann’s theories of form and color. Her studies were interrupted in 1941 when the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor drew the Pacific region into World War II and Ito, like most Japanese Americans at that time, found herself relocated to an internment camp. Thanks to the remarkable kindness and support of her professors and fellow artists, Ito managed eventually to receive not only her Berkeley diploma but also a scholarship to study art at Smith College in Massachusetts. A second scholarship, in 1944, allowed Ito to move to Chicago and enroll at the Art Institute. She would continue to live in Chicago for the rest of her life, where her mature painting style began to emerge in the 1950s. She is known as an abstract surrealist.
Since 1969, Roger Shimomura (born 1939 in Seattle) has lived in Lawrence, Kansas, where he has served as an art professor at the University of Kansas. As a painter, printmaker, and performance artist, Shimomura has focused particular attention on the experiences of Asian Americans and the challenges of being “different” in America. He knows well the pain and embarrassment associated with xenophobia. As a small child during World War II, he and his family were relocated from their home in Seattle to a Japanese American internment camp in Idaho. Having trained as an artist at the University of Washington and Syracuse University, Shimomura creates work that often pivots on the racist stereotypes that have been used to characterize Asian Americans.
Shimomura’s body of work engages the sociopolitical issues of Asian American experience, and serves as a metaphor for current times, calling attention to the ways that perceptions of crisis and impending threats continue to test America’s commitment to its ideals. Through the bright colors and graphic conventions of Japanese ukiyo-e prints and Pop art, Shimomura stingingly exposes the dismal living conditions and humiliation of incarceration and its lingering effects, while at the same time honoring the resilience of this community in the face of injustice.
Hong Chun Zhang
Painting, drawing, ink, watercolour
Born and raised in China, Hong Chun Zhang grew up in an academic environment. Both her parents are retired art professors and her two sisters are also painters. When she was 15, Hong and her twin-sister Bo won the national competition to attend the high school attached to the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. From there, she began her professional art training. In 1994, Hong received B.F.A. in Chinese Ink Painting from CAFA in Beijing, M.A. from CSU Sacramento in 2002 and M.F.A. from University of California, Davis in 2004. Hong currently lives and works in Lawrence, Kansas. In spring of 2015, she starts working with Haw Contemporary Gallery in Kansas City. For 10 years, Hong has studied under both Chinese and American fine arts educational systems, and she has discovered a balance between the two cultures and artistic styles. In China, she developed a solid foundation in painting, but the content was restricted. In 1996, Hong came to America to expand her education in fine arts. The graduate school in the US has provided Hong with the freedom to develop new concepts for her work.
Illustration, graphic design, color pencil, gouache, acrylic
Eszter Chen is a visual artist born in Taipei and raised in Los Angeles. She graduated with Honor from Art Center College of Design Pasadena, US. She majored in Illustration Art and Design. She was also a textile designer worked in fashion industry. Eszter currently lives in Taipei and L.A, working in drawing, painting, mix medium, surface design, teaching and art direction.
Yuanchen Jiang is a designer living and working in Los Angeles in graphic design, motion, branding and storytelling. Jiang received a BFA from China Central Academy of Fine Art and an MFA from Yale University School of Art.
Color pencil, gouache, graphite, sculpture
Born on the Westside of Los Angeles, David Jien grew up amidst video games, Legos, puzzle toys and manga. His bright, often absurd and action-packed works combines elements of ancient mythology, allegorical futures, gaming culture, magic, folklore, and children’s book illustrations. He cites influences including anime, nature, print-making, the Wu-Tang clan, ninja turtles, Roald Dahl, and Chinese scroll painting.
Illustration, graphic design
Shaivalini Kumar is a Visual Communication Designer who works primarily with illustration and typography. She was featured in Adobe Photoshop's 25Under25.
Oil, resin, illustration, silkscreen, zines, embroidery, glassware, videos
Kristen is a 24-year-old Los Angeles-based artist born and raised in San Francisco. She studied Illustration at Pratt Institute.
Oil, acrylic, graphite, color pencil washi paper, wood, canvas
Shizu Saldamando depicts how American social spaces are the laboratories for new ways of being. Her portraits playfully suggest that race, gender, and ethnicity act as white noise to the scene at hand; audible, yet not identifiable. Saldamando’s visual biographies, which use friends as her subjects, capture the energy of youthful experimentation and the freedom of malleable categories for identity.
Born to parents of Japanese and Mexican descent in 1978, Saldamando resides in Los Angeles but grew up in the Mission District San Francisco. She attended the University of California, Los Angeles, for her undergraduate work and received an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts.
About arriving in Los Angeles, she says: “Growing up in the Mission district in San Francisco, it was predominately a hip-hop culture. Here in Los Angeles, I’d go to shows or house parties, and it would be all Latino kids listening to the Cure and the Smiths. In L.A., I felt normal for the first time.” Saldamando’s meticulous collaged paintings offer the viewer a subtlety of influences to ponder.
Animation, illustration, GIFs
Jeremy Sengly lives in Los Angeles, working as the head of animation at Super Deluxe.
Zines, comics, illustration
Daylen Seu’s zines and illustrations are inspired by timing, deterioration, slow-paced horror films and the hyper-speed of the East Asian Pop Industry.
Edwin Ushiro is an Asian American artist born and raised in Maui and now living in Los Angeles. His work captures the small nuances of life growing up in Hawaii. Transplanted from Maui to California, he attended the Art Center College of Design and attained a BFA in Illustration with honors.
Photography, graphic design
Tam Tran (born 1986) moved with her family to Memphis, Tennessee, from South Vietnam when she was a young child. Growing up in the South with her parents and two older sisters, Tran experienced two different and overlapping cultures—one at home and another in the world around her. A recent graduate of the University of Memphis with a degree in journalism, Tran now works as a graphic designer. She has shown her work in solo and group shows in Memphis and was included in the 2010 Whitney Biennial.
Tran expresses her inner heroine through her works – breaking free of reality and altering her own appearance. She uses her own body as the framework for each piece, and creates a new heroine out of an amalgamation of her own form merged with the style and imagery of various artists. Her arresting photographs investigate identity and gender, and in this series of self-portraits, called Accents, she explores her ever-changing relationship to her own developing identity. Her self-portraits are not exercises in performance or character invention. She photographs herself against a white background, using clothing that she wears regularly—as well as pose, hairstyle, and makeup—to shift the viewer’s perceptions of her own identity. Through these sometimes subtle, sometimes dramatic images, she focuses on her “battle to maintain balance in my two cultures.”
Color pencil, pastel, ink, acrylic
Kyung Me is a 25-year old artist. Born in 1991 to Korean immigrants in a very small, very white Long Island town, she felt like the only Asian in her community. She is currently enrolled in an MFA program at Yale.
Sculpture, wire, fireglass, textiles, found objects, acrylic, feathers
Born in Bombay, India, Jaishri Abichandani immigrated to New York City in 1984. She received her MFA from Goldsmiths College, University of London and has continued to intertwine art and activism in her career, founding the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective in New York and London. “Signs of the Times” focuses on the current conditions of violence in society from her particular gendered and racial perspective. This work resists the male-dominated rhetoric of war through the inclusion and examination of the various roles women are playing, weather as passive spectators, politicians, avid protestors or perpetrators of violence themselves. The real and imagined bodies of women in this series moves from soldiers to bombers, veterans to victims using a variety of mediums. Approached playfully and sculpturally, the paintings combine art historical references and popular imagery from the West as well as the South Asian subcontinent.
Oil, charcoal, sculpture
Inspired by Persian & Indian miniature painting tradition, as well as outsider art, Samira Abbassy was born in Ahwaz, southwestern Iran in 1965. Like many people from this region, she is Arabic rather than Persian. In 1967 her family moved to Britain. Visually, Abbassy’s work reflects her cross-cultural heritage in a number of ways. She draws on the visual traditions of both Middle Eastern and Western art in a manner that is neither superficial nor eclectic, but rooted firmly in her belonging to both cultures. The recurring themes in her work aim toward a shared mythology and iconography that underlies both societies. She excavates through layers of often-contradictory cultural identity towards an understanding of her own background.
Paper, transfers, wood, fabric, plaster, photography
Golnar Adili is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Brooklyn. Adili was born in Virginia, and moved to Iran when she was four. She left Iran to pursue higher education in the U.S. She holds a Master's degree in architecture from the University of Michigan. Inspired by the displacement she felt while growing up in Tehran, Golnar Adili constructs photographs, collages, and assemblages that explore the longing she felt growing up between Iran and the US, always missing a place or a person. She works in different mediums and her process at times involves deconstructing and reconstructing an image or object. Some of her inspiration stems from Persian poetry and biographical documents investigating a landscape of longing, and displacement.
Acrylic, ink, wood sculpture, installation
Rina Banerjee, born in Kolkata, India and lives in New York, works with a cosmopolitan eclecticism that reflects both her transnational background and her sophisticated understanding of the narrative power of objects. Using trinkets made for the tourist trade — horn, bone, feathers, shells, textiles, glass bottles and antiques — she assembles rapturous sculptures that are mystifyingly shamanistic, yet overflowing with connotation. Her works are hyper-ornamented and lushly seductive. Conjoining rarities with cheap, mass-produced bric-a-brac, she appropriates extravagantly while rejecting hierarchies of material, culture and value. In Banerjee’s paintings and delicate drawings on paper, female figures float in chimerical landscapes, often in states of transformation or with hybrid features of birds and beasts. Her titles are long, free-form refrains that immerse the viewer in the physical and emotional space of the work, heightening its quasi-mystical magnetism.
Fiber, cloth, thread, fabric, sculpture/doll-making
Ruby Chishti’s work explores gender relationships and disparities in the light of personal experiences and traditional beliefs. It also unveils the presence of power and violence as a social critique. Her work is rooted in common feminine craft and it is the fusion of instinct, ability and profound life experiences. As a child, Ruby was drawn towards making dolls with cloth, as a young girl meticulously stitched her own clothes but until 1999 she had not discovered cloth as a medium of sculpture when she felt a connection between the exhausted castoffs and a frail body of an inert being… her mother. All those heaps of scraps of fabric started transforming into figurative forms that she had collected over the years and never wanted to throw away. Her work offers the link between the tradition of doll making (India and Pakistan) and the contemporary sculpture.
Acrylic, oil, wood, canvas
Born and raised in Japan to Korean parents, Hyemi Cho now lives and works in New York City. She got her BFA from San Francisco Art Institute and her MFA from the Tisch School of Arts at NYU.
Digital collage, painting, illustration, drawing, photography, installations, mixed media
Chitra Ganesh was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, where she currently lives and works. Her drawing, installation, text-based work, and collaborations are inspired by buried narratives and marginal figures typically excluded from official canons of history, literature, and art. She is widely recognized for her experimental use of comic and large-scale narrative forms to communicate submerged histories and alternate articulations of femininity to a broader public.
Ganesh draws from a broad range of material, including the iconography of Hindu, Greek and Buddhist mythology, 19th century European portraiture and fairytales, archival photography, and song lyrics, as well as contemporary visual culture such as Bollywood posters, anime, and comic books. Using a process of automatic writing, she probes this visual and textual material to connect seemingly disparate narratives, and reveal uncanny moments of absence and buried desire. Fragments of poetic language cohere with her visual iconography to produce nonlinear narratives of “unforseen desire and untimely loss, ” offering audiences untold tales from both collectively imagined pasts and distant futures.
By layering disparate materials and visual languages, Ganesh asks her viewers to “seek and consider new narratives of sexuality and power.” In this process the body becomes a site of transgression and transformation, both social and psychic, doubled, dismembered and continually exceeding its limits.
Jacob Hashimoto simulates nature without purporting to replicate it. Based in New York and of Japanese decent, Hashimoto redefines Japanese screen painting with his assemblages of paper “kites” in undulating, interactive compositions. Hashimoto’s artwork embodies his longtime fascination with the intersections of painting and sculpture, abstraction and landscape. Each work is comprised of hundreds of small bamboo and paper kite-like elements. These kite elements are strung together in chains, and layers of these chains are stretched taught between short dowels that project from wall-mounted brackets, creating a densely layered and fragmented tapestry of image or pattern. Hashimoto’s works convey an ephemeral wonder, entrancing the viewer with their continuously shifting illusion of light, space, motion, and sense of flight. Hashimoto’s working method is very open-ended, allowing him to sample art-historical references, icons of the every-day, and mismatched narratives within each composition.
Printmaking, papermaking, sculpture
Born in Aligarh in 1937, Zarina Hashmi received a B.S. degree with honours from the city’s Muslim University in 1958 before she turned to the study of printmaking in India and then abroad. Between 1963 and 67 she studied printmaking with S. W. Hayter and Krishna Reddy at Atelier 17 in Paris, and in 1974 studied woodblock printing at Toshi Yoshido’s studio in Tokyo on a Japan Foundation Fellowship. Currently based in New York, Hashmi has always engaged with the politics of space and its crossings. Mirroring her own extensive travels and the multiple meanings that the word ‘home’ has for her, Hasmi’s work challenges familiar locations like ‘country’, the ways in which they are bordered, delimited and traversed, and the feelings and memories that they evoke in us. Her minimalist prints use these locations to construct new geographies, imbuing them with fresh perspectives and new, universal meanings.
Digital, graphic design
Eric Hu is a graduate of Art Center College of Design, Pasadena and a graduate of Yale’s prestigious MFA programme. He is an art director, front-end developer and a partner at Nothing in Common based in New York working in branding, interaction design and illustration. He previously worked as the design lead at OKFocus working for clients such as Nike, the Wolfsonian Museum, Phillips, Tumblr and Atlantic Records as well as in-house projects such as Newmoticons. Eric is an adjunct faculty member at Parsons The New School for Design whose work has been exhibited in the ADC Gallery and the Museum of Art and Design. He co-founded Eternal Dragonz.
Digital illustrator, photographer
Ayqa Khan is 20 years old and based in Brooklyn. She’s a self-taught digital illustrator and photographer who has recently started to “conceptualise and create bodies of work centred around themes and narratives of the first-generation South Asian community.”
Timothy Hyunsoo Lee
Watercolor, paper, installation, sculpture
Timothy Hyunsoo Lee is a 25-year-old artist born in Seoul, South Korea but living and working in Brooklyn, New York. Educated at Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT, USA) with a degree in neuroscience, drawing and developmental biology, his works are informed by his history of immigration, identity conflicts, and the anxiety that developed in him as a result. Using his personal narrative as a vector for exploring more universal concerns about creation and destruction, order and disorder, and of trauma and healing, he works in a variety of media but with a particular focus on watercolors and works on paper.
Timothy’s current practice expands on his earlier works, which used a fractal-like motif to translate the chaos of his anxiety into a network of landscapes and patterns. The “cell,” basic unit of his visual language, expressed a state of contained disorder – the colors of his watercolors mingling uninterrupted within the rigid boundaries he creates. The interaction of these cells, suspended within a gossamer-thin network of whiteness, serving as a microcosm for the human – and the artist’s – experience of life. In looking more outward, the artist is concerned with broader themes of the universality of sensations, and the collective human experience. Whereas his identity as a bearer of conflicts was investigated in his earlier works as a method of reconciliation, Timothy now uses his identity as a point of departure. He creates paintings, sculptures, and installations that explore the objective realms of emotions, memories and dreams, and his current practice uses this very personal narrative to engage in a grander, spiritual conversation on creation and destruction, order and disorder, reality and illusion, and of trauma and healing.
Traditional Japanese icons and imagery and the American visual motifs of street art and Abstract Expressionism led Tomokazu Matsuyama to a distinct personal aesthetic. Using intensely colorful acrylic on canvas, he begins with an abstract background, then layers figures mined from Edo Japanese and American traditions, repetitive shapes, and patterns. These paintings are often mural-sized, referencing both classical Japanese wall painting and graffiti simultaneously. For Matsuyama, they are statements about the impact of globalization on individual cultural identity.
His artist statement: “Within my work, I hope to render traditional icons and imagery within a broader ether of an international intermix that has become the evolution of what seems to be the urban-ideal of the global contemporary. Reinterpretation Edo period imagery as well as contemporary motifs and patterning, I hope to blend what is seen as Eastern and Western aesthetics into one that resists categorization and cultural belonging. As cultures become increasingly entangled within another through the fluidity of the pathways of travel, the internet and other ways of communication and connection, urban centers are becoming increasingly familiar, with a patchwork of intermingling cultural signifiers that then become our everyday lives. It is a chaotic mix that has become everyday. However, with this mixing, so has the traditions, local signifiers and cultural identifiers begun to dissolve into an endangered species, seeming to leave behind a trail of homogenization. However, the realities are not as such. As a Japanese national living between the U.S. and Japan, I can only believe that my experience is much like many of those who are now caught within these urban zones. Yet what remains is this struggle between reckoning the familiar local with the familiar global. My work is equally pended as such, between worlds — they are not completely blended, but instead still a patchwork of a controlled chaos trying to evolve into something close to cosmopolitan, yet not so idealized.”
Divya Mehra’s research-fueled practice often explores marginalization, otherness and the construct of diversity. Through appropriating, editing and reassembling a variety of literary, comedic and musical sources, she creates an acerbic dialogue on the commandeering, consumption and construction of race and identity politics. Often foregrounding the ongoing struggle with her personal diasporic identity and cultural expectations, she calls into question our unexamined beliefs. Mehra currently divides her time between Winnipeg, Delhi, and New York.
Photography, sculpture, collage
Raised in Detroit, Yamini Nayar is currently based in Brooklyn. Nayar's photographs of imagined spaces are built on tabletops from found and raw materials. They are documented with a large-format camera an dafterward, are disassembled and discarded. Built structures – from religious to the mundane – and found imagery are starting points for my installations that explore space as a repository for multiple and hypenated narratives. Her practice is process oriented, combining elements of sculpture, assemblage and photography. The materials she works with are common – plaster, branches, wood, Styrofoam, and found imagery culled from online archives. Once she chooses a starting image, she researches various aspects of the scene – images and texts – and works to re-imagine the scene. The final image emerges over time and through the construction and reworking of the structure and contents in a given scene. She is interested in the space where photography becomes metaphor or illusion – where a fictional document is in dialogue with the construction of meaning. Ultimately, the final photograph is an entry point into an assembled world, in transition and momentarily held together for the lens, as well as document of a destroyed object.
Satoru Nihei grew up in Japan, studied at Maine College of Art, and went to Cranbrook Institute of Art.
Photographer Satomi Shirai channels her experiences as a Japanese immigrant in the United States in her controlled studies of dislocation and cultural alienation. “Since I started a semi-immigrant life, I have experienced two worlds, with two different cultures and systems: that of Tokyo/Japan and that of New York,” she has said. “I came to perceive things in both of these worlds by comparing each one. In my work, the presence of certain objects questions my memories, and my understanding, or lack thereof, of the world I inhabit.” Focusing primarily on the human subject within domestic spaces, Shirai carefully arranges her sitter’s possessions to reveal as much of their biography or identity as possible. These careful studies of the subject within the domestic quotidian are meant to facilitate and draw attention to interactions with objects taken often taken for granted or forgotten by her subjects.
Shirai was born and raised in Tokyo and lived and worked in New York from 2004 until 2015. Her work during this time indicates a coming-to-grips with the dislocations caused by her move to the city from Japan in 2004. She writes about how she watched a small cherry tree in her Queens neighborhood and how she was shocked to discover one day that it had been cut down. What makes Shirai a true artist of cultural conflict and engagement is that she did not flinch from this episode, or from America. Instead, her wonderfully overstuffed, sensually detailed photographs create the visual terrain that shows Shirai’s ongoing engagement with two cultures.
Video, GIF, print, music, audio
Yoshi Sodeoka is a multidisciplinary artist and musician from Yokohama, Japan, who’s lived in New York for more than two decades. Sodeoka’s neo-psychedelic work with video, GIFs and print simultaneously inhabits the world of fine art, music (he’s collaborated with bands like Psychic TV, Tame Impala, Yeasayer, Beck, The Presets), fashion (creating art prints for brands and magazines like Sandro Paris, WAD magazine), and advertising (developing projects with brands like Apple and Nike). Sodeoka’s work has been shown all over the world, from Centre Pompidou, Tate Britain, Museum of Modern Art, Deitch Projects, La Gaîté lyrique, Channel 4 Random Acts UK, Baltimore Museum of Art, OneDotZero, Sonar Festival, Transmediale, Whitney Museum of America's Art Artport and New York Times. He’s in the permanent collections of Museum of the Moving Image as well as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Sodeoka’s experimental video art label, Undervolt & Co, was founded in 2013.
Sculpture, digital collage, 3d printed plastic, etching, silkscreen
In her work, Ambika Trasi examines ritual and language as transformative tools through which we shape and cement our realities. She appropriates, deconstructs, and reinterprets ceremonies (both ancient and contemporary) through her diasporic perspective to explore the paradoxical logic behind our tendencies to honor routines. She is interested in the way people mine sense out of nonsense, create order out of disorder, and insert meaning into otherwise empty space and time.
Illustration, animation, graphic design
Jocelyn Tsaih is a designer, illustrator, and animator based in New York City. She was born in Taipei and grew up in Shanghai. She studied at the School of Visual Arts where she received her BFA in Graphic Design.
Paint, sculpture, mixed media, photography
Kevin Umaña lives and works in Brooklyn. He received his BFA from San Francisco State University.
Digital, graphic design
Huiqian Wu is a New York-based, China-born designer. Having graduated from Minneapolis College of Art and Design she now freelances, creating work that she says is “influenced by internet culture and social networks” to “transmit the diverse and often abstract reflections of her mind to the real world.”
Jiaxi Yang was born in Shanghai, China in 1989. After earning her MA degree in Visual Arts Administration at the New York University, she co-founded Fou Gallery. She is currently based in New York.
New-media artist and self-described “amateur cultural critic” Jennifer Chan approaches themes of technology from a third-wave feminist perspective. Known for her PowerPoint presentations and short videos that aim to “elevate this internet trash as something worthy of looking at,” Chan also explores the ways online spaces are gendered and Westernized. Chan draws on her cultural background and unique experiences to investigate greater themes of cultural appropriation in new medias.
Paige Jiyoung Moon
Paige Jiyoung Moon was born in Seoul, Korea. She studied illustration at Art Center College of Design. She currently lives in Pasadena, California.
Sculpture, installation, photography, collage
Sheida Soleimani is an Iranian-American artist, currently residing in Providence and teaching part-time at Rhode Island School of Design. She received her MFA from Cranbook Academy of Art and her BFA from the University of Cincinatti’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning. Soleimani inserts her own critical perspectives on historical and contemporary socio-political occurrences in Iran. Her parents, both political refugees, escaped Iran in the mid-1980s after her mother’s imprisonment and torture by the government in an attempt to learn about her father’s whereabouts. Having heard tales over dinner of her parents’ time in Iran when she was growing up in Loveland, Ohio, Soleimani began her artistic practice by attempting to translate these experiences into tactile scenes, building sets to mimic their past in a more concrete way than second-hand memory.
3D printing, digital media
Morehshin Allahyari is a Iranian-American artist who works in new media, as well as an educator, curator, and activist. Allahyari was born in Tehran. Much of her work deals with topics that question today’s political, social, cultural, and gender norms.
American-born Ajit Chauhan, based in San Francisco, is an artist attempting to subvert our sense of perception by reorganizing existing visual languages. For one of his most recent body of works entitled ‘ReRecord,’ Chauhan uses old vinyl albums. The work is composed of 160 erased record covers pinned together onto a wall, forming unresolved and slightly faded portraits that recall and highlight the ephemeral nature of things. The record covers can be seen as a marketing tool & a form of expression. They are an expression of marketing, which is playfully undermined. Chauhan’s unresolved portraits are rendered abstract and a re-occurring absence of detail unsettles any sense of something more substantial. Chauhan’s playfulness, upon what already exists, amounts to a work of delicate resolve and mild amusement.
Lenore Chinn has been known primarily for her painting, focusing on portraiture to explore the super-realistic depiction of a wide spectrum of people of color, lesbians and same sex couples. Employing a coded iconography rooted in a lesbian/gay cultural perspective, these images fuse an Asian aesthetic of sparseness and clarity with visual narratives that counteract the “magic-truth rituals” of racial and gender construction. Her oversized canvases have chronicled many of the populations in which she moves. Chinn’s inclusion in Harmony Hammond’s “Lesbian Art in America: A Contemporary History,” the first study of American lesbian visual artists, vastly expanded her national visibility. Her portraits documenting the historical evolution of San Francisco’s queer community challenge the social conventions that currently constitute the racialized order of things. In recent years she has transitioned to using photography to capture images, documenting the cultural landscape from a painter’s perspective. Her lens captures the everyday, ordinary people living their lives, and many of the Bay Area’s arts communities.
Illustration, comics, manga
Born in Japan, Junko Mizuno lives and works in San Francisco. With a practice that ranges from graphic novels to painting and designer multiples, Mizuno’s oeuvre includes traditional fairy tale tropes like revenge, retribution, tragedy and indulgence. Mizuno has reimagined art deco and art nouveau histories through female Shojo gothic horror scenes and pinup girls that act as stylized expansions of her roots in the graphic novel and comic book genres. With bold black graphics and broad planes of deep, smooth colour that support details drawing from numerous sources, the works typify Mizuno’s unique trademark style. As an accomplished illustrator, Mizuno pioneered stories of powerful female protagonists within imaginary worlds that are equal parts American psychedelia, contemporary kawaii and gothic horror.
Ink, silk, cotton, painting, animation, video
Ranu Mukherjee is an artist making animated video works, ink drawing and collage, printed textiles, and collaborative projects that take a variety of forms from audio installation to printed matter. Her work presents visual, material, and imaginative encounters with creolization, the nomadic, ecology and speculative fiction, and it addresses the construction of culture via these prevalent contemporary phenomena. Her work is underpinned by a neo-futurist perspective and identification with an expanded body. Her hybrid films, textiles, and works on paper probe ways that contemporary life is shaped by processes of creolization and nomadic conditions. Born in Boston, Ranu’s mother is German and Italian and her father is Indian. She composes from a wide variety of source material and engages viewers through a culturally hybrid and visibly crafted aesthetic. She is an Assistant Professor and Assistant Chair of the Graduate Program at California College of the Arts.
Egg tempera, oil, acrylic, textiles, mixed media
Taravat Talepasand was born in 1979 in the United States to Iranian parents during the Iranian Revolution. Retaining close family and artistic ties to Iran, Esfehan, where she was trained in the challenging discipline of Persian miniature painting, Talepasand pays close attention to the cultural taboos identified by distinctly different social groups, particularly those of gender, race and socioeconomic position. Her work reflects the cross-pollination, or lack thereof, in our “modern” society. Talepasand's works on paper and egg tempera paintings draw on realism to bring a focus on an acceptable beauty and its relationship with art history under the guise of traditional Persian painting. Her interest, however, is in painting a present which is of and intrinsically linked to the past, making it easily understood by the Iranian and inductive of assumption for the Westerner. “Since I myself am considered a taboo in that I am a conglomerate of equal, yet irreconcilable cultural forces, my work challenges plebeian notions of acceptable behavior,” says the artist.
Illustration, comics, pencil, ink, watercolor, digital, animation, film
Cindy Yang is currently a Character Animation BFA student at California Institute of Arts in Santa Clara. Amongst other projects, her first year film And Then is a compelling tale about what happens when the everyday routine of the world is suddenly broken by one incident.
Digital illustrator, photographer
Nurjahan Akhlaq (born 1979 in Lahore) moved to Canada via Turkey from Pakistan in 1993 and studied filmmaking at Concordia University, Montreal, before earning her MFA at Goldsmiths College, London, in 2009. Akhlaq is part of a younger generation of filmmakers that has also been involved in exploring the conceptual possibilities of collage and print. Her videos have been screened in international exhibitions and festivals, including Monitor Reruns, A Space Gallery, Toronto, in 2014; the Mumbai International Film Festival, India; the Kassel Documentary and Video Festival, Germany; the EBS International Documentary Festival, Seoul, Korea; and the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) in 2005. Akhlaq’s film Death in the Garden of Paradise (2004) was an Official Selection at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto in 2005. She lives and works in Lahore and Toronto.
Born in 1980, Nicholas Aoki is an artist and illustrator currently working and living in Toronto. He graduated from Sheridan College in illustration in 2004. Aoki’s work unveils the inter-connectivity between the longstanding tradition of painting and new medias and technology. He is one of four founding members of the artist collective Team Macho.
Oil, acrylic, charcoal
Nimisha Bhanot is a Canadian visual artist born in Toronto, Ontario. She completed her BFA at OCAD University in 2013, with an undergraduate thesis in Drawing and Painting. Through her experience at OCADU Nimisha was able to experiment with a variety of different techniques and methods of drawing, painting, sculpture and printmaking. After spending years being pulled between grid abstraction and the realism in her ink paintings, Nimisha fell in love with portraiture during the summer of 2012. Being a South Asian woman has had a significant impact on her work, as she explores the perception of self and societal roles from a bicultural perspective.
HateCopy (Maria Qamar)
Illustration, comic, acrylic, memes
Maria Qamar, aka Hatecopy, is a 25-year-old comic artist born in Pakistan and based in Toronto.
Illustration, acrylic, oil, print-making, ceramics
Ness Lee is a graduate from OCAD University in Toronto, but in a few short years has become recognized for her distinctive illustration style and subject matter. Ness’ illustrations, ceramics and prints at first glance can be viewed as playful and humorous renditions of familiar Asian icons, from sumo wrestlers to lucky cats to noodle bowls. A closer look reveals a body of work that explores the complex relationship between self and one’s place in contemporary culture and society. In Orientations, the artist draws on her personal experiences – negotiating what it means to be Hakka-Chinese Canadian, a person of colour, an artist, a young female, a daughter – to portray multifaceted characters, often in vulnerable positions and contexts. At the same time, Ness subtly brings attention to and challenges traditional perceptions of Asian beauty, sexuality, nudity and power, bringing together pieces of her cultural heritage to create a strong and candid visual narrative of her own.
Eunice Luk is an artist living and working in Toronto. Her work includes drawings, artist books, sculptures and installations. Eunice is driven to draw in response to a moment. She reacts to the effects of her surroundings – connecting and arranging feelings, contours, space and objects. She creates minimal and confident compositions through economical use of form, perspective and often a restricted palette. She also publishes artist books under the imprint, ‘Slow Editions’.
Painting, acrylic, canvas, watercolour, pencil, digital, illustration
Born in India and brought up in Toronto, Meera Sethi is a Canadian visual artist whose interdisciplinary practice encompasses a range of mediums to pose questions about the relationship between migration, diaspora, identity and hybridity. Often invoking humour and irony, Meera undercuts our political and cultural assumptions and asks us to look with fresh eyes. Her work foregrounds histories on the edges of representation, especially queer, diasporic and post-colonial moments in a contemporary context. Fashion and the politics of dress is an ongoing area of interest. Recent work includes Upping the Aunty, a multidimensional work comprised of street fashion photography, a colouring book for adults and a series of painting on canvas that place the figure of the “Aunty” at the centre of fashionability thus calling into question our unexamined notions about style. In #Unstitched, an ongoing, multi-year project, Meera investigates the possibilities and tensions of creating community using a single garment – a sari – across multiple diasporic sites.
Born in 1988, Winnie Truong lives and works in Toronto, where she received a BFA from the Ontario College of Art and Design’s drawing and painting program. She works in pencil crayons on paper to produce large scale portraits that challenge our ideas of beauty and discomfort.
Photography, video, painting, print
Vancouver-based Ho Tam is a media/visual artist who worked in advertising companies and community psychiatric facilities before turning to art. He practises in multiple disciplines including photography, video, painting and print media. He has catalogued many iterations of multiples throughout his career, ranging from commercial imagery to Asian male bodies. These catalogues do more than just point out similarities between objects and people but also examine how differentiation can be a bellwether for imagined communities.
Illustration, comics, drawing, ceramics
Sharmila Banerjee, born in Rheydt, Germany, is an illustrator, designer and comic artist. After graduating with an MFA in illustration and graphic design from Konstfack in Stockholm, she focuses on visual storytelling in drawings and comics. She is currently based in Berlin.
Born in 1988 in the Netherlands, Nhat-Vu Dang currently lives and works between Berlin & Amsterdam.
Jennis Li Cheng Tien
Sculpture, installation, mixed media, graphic design
Born in 1983 in Taiwan, Jennis Li Cheng Tien moved to Singapore in 1997. She relocated to Germany in 2008 and completed her MFA in Public Art and New Artistic Strategies. She has lived and worked in Berlin since 2011. Jennis’s work ranges from urban interventions to site-specific installations that aspire to be perceptually engaging. Her acute interest in spatial analysis and locality propelled her to focus on the points of intersection between architecture, sculpture and urban structure, subsequently refining her own conceptual and visual vocabulary. In most of her recent works, Jennis has attempted to integrate local participation, as she is interested in how her work can be shaped differently through people’s input in order to add an additional layer of relevance and purpose to a place. While metaphor is essential in her conception and process, her focus is not primarily on the ideological but on the sensory, aesthetic experience on a primal, physical level.
Graphic design, collage, drawing
Siyu Mao grew up in China, studied at China Central Academy of Fine Arts and Berlin University of Arts, and currently lives and works in Berlin. Her heritage often serves as inspiration for personal projects, which manage to merge an experimental approach to typography with political concerns.
Mihoko Takata is a Berlin-based illustrator. She was born in Kanagawa, Japan. After graduating non-art university and working for design companies, she started her illustration career in 2008. She has created illustrations for advertising, books, and so on since.
Animation, collage, illustration
Hoji Tsuchiya was born in Tokyo in 1984. He started making animations in 2004, and in 2012 moved to Berlin, where he currently lives and works. He has made a number of music videos and short films, often using a combination of drawn animation and cut-outs.
Andrea Wan was born in 1985 in Hong Kong, and then moved to Vancouver, Canada with her parents when she was ten years old. Seeing that the parents were graphic designers, it comes as no surprise that Andrea was interested in art, and encouraged to pursue a career in it from an early age. She started her academic training at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, from which she graduated, obtaining a degree in Film, Video and Integrated Media. She later went to Denmark to continue with her education at Designskolen Kolding, where she studied Design and Illustration. While living and learning in Europe, Andrea began to explore and broaden her style, developing her artistic expression. In 2012, she moved to Berlin, Germany, where she lives to this day. The constant change of scenery and cultures in her life will prove to be an invaluable, never-ending source of inspiration to the artist.
Animation, illustration, drawing
Yukai Du is an illustrator and animator from China currently based in Brighton, UK. She graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2014.
Spatial designer, furniture design, digital illustration, 3D illustration, animation
Born in 1990, Anny Wang got her BFA from HDK School of Design and Crafts in Gothenburg in 2014. She is the Co-Founder and Creative Director at Wang & Söderström.
Graphite, graphic design, silkscreen
Graphic designer and illustrator Suthipa Kamyam is from Bangkok, Thailand. In 2006, she graduated from Faculty of Fine and Applied Art of Chulalongkorn University with BA in Creative Art. Two years later she had her MFA in Design after graduating from HDK-School of Design and Craft, in Goteborg, Sweden. Since 2011 she has been a freelance illustrator in Goteborg and Bangkok.
Graphic design, digital illustration
Tishk Barzanji is a Kurdish visual artist based in London. His work is inspired by ancient history, the Modernism movement, and his experiences in London since moving there in 1997. He studied Fine Art at Richmond upon Thames College, and Physics at Loughborough University.
Acrylic, mixed medium, collage, sculpture, installation, film
London-based artist Shezad Dawood’s British and Pakistani roots are reflected in his works. He works across film, painting, and sculpture to juxtapose discrete systems of image, language, site and multiple narratives, using the editing process as a method to explore meanings and forms between film and painting. His practice often involves collaboration, working with groups and individuals across different territories to physically and conceptually map far-reaching lines of inquiry. These networks map across geographic locations and communities and are particularly concerned with acts of translation and re-staging. Appropriating many of his ideas from modern European and American aesthetics, Dawood generates a critical examination of identity. This series of sculptures are made of neon, entangled in tumbleweed and placed on aluminium plinths. The Bestower, The Protector, The Judge and The Majestic, utilise traditional scripts that radiate from the centre of a ball of tumble-weed, reflecting an element of the divine.
Comics, illustration, oil, music, writing
Babak Ganjei graduated from Central Saint Martins with a Fine Arts degree in 2001. He is in a band called Wet Paint, has a musics and comics label called “Records, Records, Records,” and has published two books, Hilarious Consequences and Twit.
Eunjoo Lee is a Korean illustrator currently based in the UK. She received her BA from Hongik University in Korea in 2012, and went on to get her masters in Illustration at Glasgow School of Art in the UK. Now she is working with several magazines in the U.S. and Korea as an illustrator.
Industrial and product design
Doshi Levien is an internationally acclaimed design studio founded by designers Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien. Nipa grew up in India and studied design at the National Institute of Design, founded on the manifesto by Charles and Ray Eames. Jonathan trained in fine cabinet making followed by industrial design. They met at the Royal College of Art and have been working together for over 10 years in their London studio.
Zhang Liang (Ray) is an illustrator based in Beijing and London.
Charlene Man was born in Hong Kong and grew up in the UK. She graduated from illustration at Camberwell College of Arts and is now working in between both Hong Kong and UK depending on the project.
Illustrator Isobel Mehta graduated from Brighton University with a BA in illustration in 2016. She draws most of her work digitally, using photography to research and compose her pieces. Isobel’s illustrative practice revolves around themes of identity, memory and documentation. For her Heritage project, Isobel looked at family photographs and used them to illustrate her Zoroastrian family’s migration from India to the UK.
Charlotte Mei is a ceramicist and Illustrator who lives in London.
Illustrator, drawing, animation, gifs
As editor and co-founder of One of My Kind, a print and online publication celebrating the work of women (particularly Muslim women), as well as curator and a co-founder of the East London festival DIY Cultures, Sofia Niazi has worked with a diverse array of creatives, political groups, and collectives. She is based in London and is of Pakistani descent.
Graphic design, digital illustration
After studying Graphic Design at the university of Teheran, Maziyar Pahlevan (born 1983) decided to rediscover the medium in The Netherlands. In 2009, he enrolled in the second year of the Graphic Design department at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. After receiving his BA, he later got his MFA from Yale and now works on personal and commissioned projects.
Illustration, acrylic, oil, drawing, street art
Currently based in London, SAKI&Bitches has a background in the fashion industry, having worked as a make-up artist for seven years in Tokyo, New York and London before switching from faces to canvas. “I wasn’t satisfied with my career and tired of all the skinny models in fashion world." So she started to paint voluptuous “Bitches!” SAKI's work/style grow from doodles on the back of scrap pieces of paper to full scale portraits. She’s been playing around with multiple mediums over the years; paint, pencils, stencils, wood craft and some sculpting. Her work is unintentionally controversial and erotically sweet.
Seetal Solanki worked across fashion, sportswear, automotive, lighting and architecture before launching Ma-tt-er, a material research consultancy and studio back in 2015. Ma-tt-er explores the past, present and future of materials. Working across industry and education, Ma-tt-er advises and supports the implementation of responsible materials to shape the immediate, near and far future, examining their potential within the next one to five years, five to fifteen years and fifteen years plus.
Sroop Sunar was born and spent her early life in Birmingham. Sroop moved to New Delhi in her teens where her fascination for Indian street culture and printed ephemera all started. From textile to matchbox labels, hair oil to medicine packaging, it was the haphazard printing quality, bold colour palettes, astute use of typography and visual wit found on everyday consumer goods that now heavily influences her work. Sroop Sunar is an avid collector of old Indian label designs and, while studying at Central Saint Martins in the UK, spent a year writing and illustrating her dissertation on matchbox labels originating from India in the 40s/50s/60s. All of her illustrations are constructed with an awareness to the screen printing process which not only references the texture and quality of mass printed ephemera, but also enhances the finish and authenticity of her illustrations. She is currently based in London.
Gaurab Thakali is a freelance illustrator and printmaker of Nepalese descent based in London, who graduated from Camberwell College of Arts.
Ted Hyunhak Yoon
London-based graphic designer Ted Hyunhak Yoon is a recent grad from the Royal College of Art. His work takes a historical and research led-approach, where he draws on past events or key figures to document in a new way. Executed through posters and publications Ted uses the archive material he finds to display facts and musings in sleek, considered layouts and compositions and using typography and graphics to imbue a certain mood or atmosphere.
Pencil, marker, watercolor
Joey Yu is an artist, illustrator, animator, and curator based in London.
Gif, sculpture, drawing, digital, illustration, embroidery, crochet
Jennifer Zheng is a freelance animator and director based in London. She likes true characters, clever transitions and thought provoking narratives. Zheng was born and raised in London and is of Chinese descent. She is a recent graduate from Kingston University with a first class degree in Illustration and Animation BA.
Usarae Gul is a print designer based in Manchester. She plays with colour and pattern, and playfully mixes objects from both sides of the world she identifies with. She depicts items and scenes that make her curious, working with paint and found objects to create striking images, full of colour and pattern heavily influenced by her Pakistani roots.
Carpet, acrylic, sculpture, wood, stainless steel, plastic, digital illustration
Faig Ahmed is an internationally recognized artist from Baku, Azerbaijan, who is well known for his conceptual works that utilize traditional decorative craft and the visual language of carpets into contemporary sculptural works of art. His works reimagine ancient crafts and create new visual boundaries by deconstructing traditions and stereotypes. Ahmed’s artworks engage the viewers through its unexpected marriage of traditional crafts, steeped in history, with hyper-contemporary, digitally distorted images often in the form of pixilation, three-dimensional shapes and melting paint that alters the pattern on the rugs. He employs computers to sketch his works and chooses intricate traditional methods of carpet-weaving techniques to printing his designs on carpets. Faig Ahmed, a student of modern and ancient languages, including Sanskrit and Arabic, was interested in the origin of languages and human writing long before he became interested in carpets. It was his study of pre-historic petroglyphs that led to his fascination with the language of carpet patterns. Ahmed re-imagines carpets as a source code for visual communication, writing, design, art and even science.
Drawing, painting, photography, installation, digital art, animation, video, perfomance, game design
Nazrin Mammadova grew up in Azerbaijan. She graduated from the British Higher School of Art and Design (BA) in Moscow in 2012. Nazrin’s approach to life can be observed as deductive exploration of change, which echoes in her art practice. With diverse creative practice that ranges from drawing, painting, photography, installation, digital art and animation, staged performance, public art, creative writing and exhibition-making to game design, the elements she engages with in her artistic practice are autobiographical. Recent practice is heavily involved with the term ‘Gulf Futurism’ a term coined by Qatari-American artist Sophia Al-Matria to explain the existing phenomena that is observed in the architecture, urban planning, art and aesthetics of popular culture in the Persian Gulf and neighbouring post oil countries.
Digital illustrator, graphic design
Ranganath Krishnamani is an illustrator and designer who lives in Bangalore, India. He currently works as head of design for Redbus.in, a start-up that focuses on online travel.
Graphic design, illustration,
Tanawat Sakdawisarak is a 27-year-old graphic designer and illustrator in Thailand working at the design firm YouWorkForThem. He is a graduate from Assumption University.
Printmaking, painting, drawing, watercolor
Buddhadev Mukherjee was born in Durgapur, an industrial metropolis in the state of West Bengal, India. He pursued his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from Kala-Bhavana, Santiniketan in the year 2001 and went on to specialize in Printmaking from the M.S. University of Baroda where he completed his Masters in 2003. He participated in many prestigious group shows and art camps held in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bhopal and Baroda.
Having been acquainted with middle class society in the metropolis, Buddha constantly witnessed the predicaments of people, who are often overly obsessed with the material world. The plethora of imagery intertwined and overlapped replicates the subliminal desires in the mind. The ‘desires’ that overwhelm harmony, ethics, affinity and the socially constituted bonds are the chief concerns of the artist. His caricatures, physiognomies interpret the darker side of human relationships and the unchanged basic human instincts. The artist’s claustrophobic intentionality, reactionary to ‘Modernity,’ expresses his social hypersensitivity, often bursting with ‘politics’. Perhaps, his nostalgia is reflected in his visual compositions, where the childhood experiences growing up in Durgapur industrial belt undoubtedly led to the ‘complex’ visual vocabulary, which poses for the onlooker interesting queries about our mundane life. Having strong incongruity with the way art is practiced and produced, the artist sticks to the conventional basics of ‘Modern’ figurative language yet expressionistic in itself. His paintings do not retreat into a melancholy as his depictions of humor, which are manifested in his representations, evoke an alternative aesthetics. What keeps getting Buddha interested in painting is the playful assimilation of tones and textures, treating the canvas with impasto. His art reverberates with the ‘Van Goghian’ propensity to bring out the ‘expression’ of beleaguered souls of his forms. There is a candid effort to build up his language exploiting various possibilities of the mediums and materials throughout his practice.
Oil, acrylic, watercolor, charcoal, enamel, etching, rice paper, canvas
Indian artist T. Venkanna's prolific and prodigious output has gained him the reputation of being one of his generation's most exciting, versatile, and unconventional artist. He holds a Masters in Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in printmaking from the Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University of Baroda and Bachelors in Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in painting from J.N.T.U, Hyderabad where he was awarded a Gold medal.
Photo, video, interview, documentary
Born in 1974 in Seoul, CYJO (pronounced see-joe) is an American visual artist who works mainly in the photographic medium, but also with text and video. She is most known for her KYOPO Project (2004-2009), a photographic and textual project about American immigration and identity through the lens of the Korean ancestry. Over 200 people from the Kyopo community explore their relationships with their ancestral culture and the other cultures they embody through citizenship or life experiences. CYJO is a self-described Kyopo—the Korean term for ethnic Koreans living in other countries. Just one-and-a-half years old when she immigrated with her family to the United States in 1976, CYJO grew up in suburban Maryland and later studied at the University of Maryland and the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York. She continued her education in Italy at the Istituto Politecnico Internazionale della Moda before returning to the States, where she earned her degree in fashion design from FIT in 1997. After working initially as a stylist, CYJO moved behind the camera in 2002 to launch her career as a fine-art photographer. Since that time, her subjects have included a wide range of individuals—from performing artists to politicians—and her photographs have been featured in numerous publications both in the United States and abroad.As an American of Korean ethnicity, CYJO analyzes different cultural nuances and sometimes contradicting perspectives with her body of work. She continues to explore how culture, life experience, tradition and modernity shape both the individual and collective identity and how society influences the alteration of tradition and culture.
Acrylic, oil, screenprint, lithography, sculpture, photography
Zeng Fanzhi was born in Wuhan, China in 1964, and lives and works in Beijing. From the earliest stages of his career, Zeng Fanzhi's paintings have been marked by their emotional directness, the artist's intuitive psychological sense, and his carefully calibrated expressionistic technique. Moving to Beijing in the early 1990s, Zeng's art displayed an immediate shift, responding to his immersion in a more superficial environment, his seminal Mask series displaying the tensions between the artist's dominant existential concerns and an ironic treatment of the pomposity and posturing inherent to his new contemporary urban life. Throughout, Zeng's expressionistic techniques run counter to such techniques' conventional usage. That is, Zeng's representation of raw, exposed flesh or awkwardly oversized hands is not an attempt at pure emotional expression, but instead play against the superficially composed appearances of his subjects, an ironic treatment of emotional performance as a metaphor for a lost self, of stunted self-realization.
Zhang Kechun was born in 1980 in Sichuan, China. He is currently based in Chengdu.
Acrylic, graphite, pastels
Eunji Ryu is an artist, painter, and publisher whose surreal dreamscapes juxtapose familiar elements and abstract contexts to form uncanny pastel-toned domestic spaces and landscapes. Eunji is a graduate of Keimyung University and has shown internationally. She is based in South Korea.
Graphic design, illustration
Anunt Ahuja is a print-based graphic designer based out of New Delhi, India. He is the art director of Saatchi & Saatchi.
Oil, acrylic, wood, printmaking, charcoal, fabric
Mekhala Bahl trained at the Rhode Island School of Design, after which she returned to India in 2003 to pursue her individual art practice. Truthfulness to life is sometimes understood as a restricting imitation of surface appearances. Mekhala's work echoes life in all its layers - moving beyond optical illusionism to the perceived, subjective and felt. Unbounded worlds of possibilities are open to her as an artist and to the viewers of her work. An avid traveller, she has worked, and exhibited in countries and cultures as diverse as Italy, France and Japan. She recalls the solid and saturated colours of Rome in the summer and Japan, which, in her work translates into fragile lines, reflecting the careful decorum of a traditional society.
Sculpture, installation, drawing
In her visceral sculptures, installations, videos, and works on paper, Mithu Sen combines eroticism, grotesquerie, and exquisite beauty to both send up and upend, with an elegant, sardonic wit, modes of self-representation, gender stereotypes, and personal, social, and artistic decorum. Images of the body—genitalia, intestines, blood-filled veins, bones, limbs, and hair—recur throughout her work, mixed with a host of motifs drawn from Indian and global popular culture, such as tigers and Japanese anime characters. Sen often begins with photographs of herself, manipulating her image with a playful gusto, drawing a mustache on her upper lip or showing small phalluses pointed towards her, poised for penetration. Through these manipulations, she demands control over the way she is seen and represented, pre-empting stereotypes through exaggerated representation.
Acrylic, canvas, pencil, mixed media
Born in 1988, Pallavi Singh lives and works in New Delhi as a freelance artist. She completed her BFA and MFA from College of Art in Delhi.
Farah Al Qasimi
Born in 1991 in Abu Dhabi, Farah Al Qasimi was raised in both the United Arab Emirates and the United States. She holds a bachelor’s degree in fine art from Yale University with a concentration in analog and digital photography. She currently lives and works in Dubai where she teaches photography at the Higher Colleges of Technology.
Illustration, graphic design
ADC Young Gun award-winner Dan Matutina has the rare ability to sum up complicated scientific theories, ideas, and the increasingly complicated relationship we have with technology in communicative and graceful illustration and animation. Dan grew up on a Typhoon-battered Philippine island called Leyte, and now resides in Katipunan, Quezon City. At school, his love for science and maths was matched only by his artistic talent, and now he dedicates his days to both. His style is slick, angular and mathematical: a satisfying combination of hand-painted textures and digital renders. Dan predominantly works on editorial illustrations and posters and is exceptionally adept at producing animations and commercial illustration for big brands as well. His illustration style is a mix of handmade & digital, clean and dirty, old and modern aesthetics. His work has appeared in several leading local and international magazines. Dan's work is heavily inspired by films, science, myths, and folklore. Dan co-founded the design studio Ideals Creatives, and just recently established Plus63 Design Co. with a group of friends. He is also a lecturer of the Visual Communication Dept. at the UP College of Fine Arts.
Graphic design, illustration
Born in 1988, Ryu Mieno graduated from Kyoto Seika University Graphic Design Course in 2011. After graduating from university, he started working as a freelancer in Kyoto.
Drawing, illustration, collage, mixed medium
Komail Aijazuddin is a journalist and an artist whose work explores religious symbolism and iconography in a modern way. He was born in Abu Dhabi, graduated from New York University, and is currently based in Pakistan. He has shown widely both locally and abroad. His work brings up sensitive issues and sentiments that have been neglected and pushed aside in our society, and takes the bold step of exploring notions of the “divine” via art. According to the artist, his work is representative of a much more internal journey of grappling with issues of religion, divinity and mythology.
Aisha Khalid (born 1972) is one of Pakistan’s leading contemporary artists. She graduated from the Miniature Department of the National College of Arts (NCA) in Lahore, and is part of the so-called “Neo-Miniature” movement’s first-generation. The trend, which started in Lahore around 1990, “rehabilitates” the traditional miniature painting technique from the Moghul Empire, giving it new life by mixing it with other media and updating it to reflect a more contemporary aesthetic. The research Khalid puts into her work highlights the contemporary potential of this ancient medium by using modern media and by narrating present events. Her highly appealing and decorative works include painting, embroidery, video, site-specific installations with a focus on global social and political issues, cultural stereotypes, and misunderstandings between East and West.
Muhammad Atif Khan (born 1972 in Pakistan) graduated in 1997 in Fine Art from the National College of Arts in Lahore. Khan is a highly respected associate professor at National College of Arts with an illustrious career spanning over 20 years. His prints contain elements of Mughal iconography. The work itself is complex and multilayered with many surprise elements slowly unveiling themselves. Alongside his artistic practice, Khan is the faculty member at the prestigious National College of Arts in Lahore, Pakistan.
Imran Qureshi lives and works in Lahore, Pakistan. He develops an aesthetic that integrates contemporary themes with the motifs and techniques of Mughal miniature painting. Imran Qureshi is known for his beautifully crafted paintings which portray a delicate repetition of decorative motifs and figurative elements. Influenced by the Mugal heritage of miniature paintings, Qureshi has evolved his own personal iconography which suffuse his paintings and more recently his site-specific installations.
Painting, acrylic, watercolor, video, animation, wasli paper
Shahzia Sikander received her BFA in 1991 from the National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan and her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1995. Pakistani-born and internationally recognized, Sikander's pioneering practice takes Indo-Persian miniature painting as a point of departure. She challenges the strict formal tropes of miniature painting as well as its medium-based restrictions by experimenting with scale and media. Such media include animation, video, mural, and collaboration with other artists. Her process-based work is concerned with examining the forces at stake in contested cultural and political histories. Her work helped launch a major resurgence in the Miniature Painting department in the Nineties at the National College of Arts in Lahore, inspiring many others to examine the miniature tradition.
Mainaz Bano is a well known U.P trained and Lucknow based painter. Born and brought up in Lucknow, Bano says it was natural that the Nawabi culture found its way into her paintings. “I grew up around it. So when the time came to paint my first collection, I thought why not use it. Since then, its elements have always been a part of my paintings,” she says.
Allan Balisi was born in Isabela, Phillipines in 1982. His first show was in 2006. He currently lives in Manila.
Mehdi Ravandi was born in 1989 and is currently based in Masshad, Iran’s Shia pilgrimage site.
Oil, acrylic, watercolor, marble, fabric
Atul Dodiya has produced a body of work that defies neat categorization, ranging from paintings and works on paper to street art and sculptures, encompassing numerous different styles and seamlessly intertwining Western art history with the history, myths, folklore, and popular culture of India. He credits Mumbai (formerly Bombay) for his predilection for such heady juxtapositions: “I was born and brought up in Bombay, and the city’s incredible diversity has been a major influence on me,” he says. Dodiya came to prominence in the early 1990s for his hyperrealist depictions of middle-class Indian life and his exuberant paintings on the security shutters of shops throughout Mumbai. Recently, he has paid homage to the marginalized and the poor in a series of exquisitely sensitive watercolors depicting, for example, a plumber, a scribe, or a painter.
Illustration, drawing, watercolor, graphite, graphic design
Sameer Kulavoor is an illustrator, designer, and director of Bombay Duck Designs. He also is a collaborator with the Taxi Fabric Project.
Oil, acrylic, printmaking
Amit Lodh’s colorful, almost kitschy work belies the artist's tongue-in-cheek humor. He is influenced by Mumbai lifestyle, the movement, crowd, the figurants of the city transported in tones of colors to absorb the pollution and traffic of the busy metro city. His choice of colors and the representations of his figures result in a fantasy picture. Amit Lodh was born in Jamshedpur in the state Jharkhand. He completed his BFA in Painting from Indira Kala Sangit Vishvvidhyalaya Chhattisgarh in 2008 and completed his master’s degree in Printmaking in 2012 from M.S. University of Baroda.
Illustration, design, zines
Mira Malhotra is a graphic designer and visual artist from Mumbai who runs her own design house called Studio Kohl. She has a BFA in Applied Arts and is an alumnus of the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad with a post graduate in graphic design. Mira’s rare approach to design is rooted in logic and common sense but enriched by her distinct aesthetic and creative flair. Her personal work tends more to image-making and illustration. Having been exposed to a variety of cultures as a child, her work is oftentimes an amalgamation of what it is like to be Indian with what it is to look upon Indianness as an outsider. Colourful, humorous, charming and witty, it stems from her fascination with the decorative items at local bazaars, Indian history or from indigenous arts and crafts. She is also a member of a South Asian Indian Collective of women artists known as Kadak.
Illustration, graphic design
Shweta Malhotra is a graphic designer from Bombay, based in New Delhi, India. After graduating in Applied Arts from Sophia Polytechnic (Bombay) in 2004, she started out as an Art Director with advertising agencies like McCann Erickson, Contract Advertising and Ogilvy. In February 2008, after a short stint at Fabrica (Benetton’s Visual Arts Research Centre in Italy), she decided to pursue a career in Graphic Design and has since worked with firms like Grandmother India and Rediffusion Y&R Design. On a project basis, she's also worked with Itu Chaudhuri Design and Illum Design. Shweta currently works as an independent graphic designer and has a keen interest in design for lifestyle, music and fashion.
Drawing, painting, digital illustration
Born in Bangalore, Yashasvi Mathis has been in Bombay all her life. She is a self-taught artist. She first trained in knitwear design and subsequently studied fashion; now she flits between simple sketches, painting and digital media.
Photography, sculpture, installations
Baroda-born and Mumbai-based Hema Upadhyay uses photography and sculptural installations to explore notions of personal identity, dislocation, nostalgia and gender. Upadhyay’s work "Killing Site" draws on the theme of migration and human displacement across Asia. The top of the work is based on Mumbai’s dilapidated shanty towns, here appearing upside down and protruding out like a canopy over Upadhyay’s decorated montage. Upadhyay draws on her own personal and family history of migration to express her concerns and this is expressed through the way she portrays herself in her works. The upturned slums reference the repercussions and socio-economic inequalities that emerge as a hidden consequence of the relentless tide of urban development in the city.
Drawing, illustration, ink
Daehyun Kim was born in 1980 in Seoul. He studied Oriental Painting at Hongik University in Seoul. After graduating from university, he started to draw his characteristic drawings, called “Moonassi series”. Daehyun also worked as a graphic designer, marketing manager, and art director at various companies for several years. Since he worked with New York Times as an illustrator, he sometimes collaborate with other artists and brands. Now he is working and living in Paju, in Gyeonggi-do.
South Korean illustrator Jee-ook Choi specialises in creating cryptic and whimsical illustrations that toy with the everyday, throwing small details and idiosyncrasies into her scenes that belie their immediate, perceived normality.
34-year-old designer and art director Goo-Ryong Kang was born in South Korea and founded Chung Choon in 2013 with creative director Jungran Kim.
Henn Kim is an illustrator based in Seoul. She creates minimal and surreal illustrations in black and white.
Illustration, drawing, animation, comics
Kyu-Tae Lee is a South Korean filmmaker, illustrator, and comic artist. He is also a member of Quang, a monthly comic webzine.
Jaemin Lee graduated from Seoul National University with a BFA in Visual Communication Design in 2005. He founded studio fnt in 2006. Since 2011, he has actively worked with Junglim Foundation on projects about architecture, culture, arts and education, forum, exhibitions and research in order to explore meaningful exchanges with the public about subjects like the social role of architecture and urban living. He also teaches graphic design at Seoul National University and University of Seoul.
Kwangho Lee was born in 1981 and grew up in a small city next to Seoul, Korea. He completed his studies at Hongik University in Seoul, majoring Metal Art & Design, and graduated in February 2007. He currently lives and works in Seoul as a designer. Making things by hand was a great joy as a child, reminding his grandfather who, a farmer himself, constantly hand-made daily household goods from natural materials found nearby. Kwangho Lee appreciated the way he looked at everyday objects and thus began to approach things in similar ways; to give new meaning and function to the most ordinary. Today, as he continuously presents new series of works, he develops his practice by discovering moments of materials joining another. He makes works on marble and marble, copper and enamel, steel and steel and tries to describe in his works the instant moment of union.
Soojin Lee is a graphic designer originally from Seoul and now studying graphic design, motion design, and illustration for branding in Berlin.
Illustration, watercolor, ink, animation
Yoon Miwon is an illustrator and animator based in Seoul.
Collage, photography, illustration, installations, mixed media
Born in 1982, Dawn Ng is an artist from Singapore. With a background in studio art and journalism at Georgetown University and the UCL Slade School of Fine Art, Dawn Ng spent 10 years across Singapore, Paris and New York straddling art, design and advertising. Dawn works across a breadth of mediums, motives and scale ranging from collage, photography and illustration; to light, space and ephemeral installations.
Graphic design, typography, book covers
Wang Zhi-Hong was born in 1975 in Taipei. As a kid, he grew up in a letterpress print shop run by his parents. He graduated from Fu-Hsin Trade and Art School in 1995. Five years later he started offering design solutions in fields of publication, art, architecture, film and music through his Studio. Now in his late-30s, he is Taiwan’s leading book designer and works with local publishers to bring translated titles to the Taiwan market. He has received numerous international recognition.
Painting, illustration, animation, graphic design, ceramics, sculpture
Kosuke Ajiro was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1980. He is an illustrator, painter, animator, and graphic designer.
Graphic design, illustration, painting, drawing
Born in Tokyo in 1929, Kiyoshi Awazu was self-taught in painting and design. He devoted his career to political advocacy and collaborations within Tokyo’s artistic community. In stark contrast to the prevailing modernist dogma, which sought universal and impersonal set of symbols, Awazu imbued his expressive, hand-drawn designs with local traditions. He argued that the designer’s mission was “to extend the rural into the city, foreground the folklore, reawaken the past, summon back the outdated.” While consistently remaining among the top ranks of Japanese designers, throughout his career, Awazu has engaged in a remarkably broad range of activities. These have included urban design, exhibition design and film production, and have been in collaboration with artists from fields spanning from architecture to music to literature to cinema. In more recent years, he focused on visual communication, the very genesis of all design artistry through studies in areas such as pictographs and rock art, and he launched works employing diverse production methods as well as being a prolific writer.
Illustration, graphic design, serigraph prints, wooden crafts, animation
Zenji Funabashi was born in Kawasaki, Japan in 1942. He graduated from Tama Art University in Tokyo, with a degree in Graphic Design. He worked in Toronto and San Francisco at various video production studios in the 1970s and moved back to Japan in 1980 to work as a freelance artist.
Digital, graphic design
Yoko Honda’s a self-taught artist and has no formal training. She began her career uploading images of her graffiti to Instagram, generating increasing interest with each new image. Yoko Honda’s artwork channels the aesthetics of the 1980s. Her digital paintings pay homage to the garish and the gaudy, channeling an era of affuence and excess.
Illustration, digital, acrylic, canvas
Tokyo-based illustrator Hiroyuki Ishii produces minimalist, digital line drawings of surreal interior landscapes, influenced by Japanese art, Italian design and RPG (role playing) video games.
Graphic design, illustration, video, photography, product design
Born in 1982 in Yokohama, Japan, Midori Kawano began working freelance after graduating from Tama Art University's product design course in 2006. She has done art direction and design for Tsuyoshi Doumoto and De De Mouse, and continues to expand images in a variety of fields as a response to pop culture, music, and the times.
Paintings, acrylic, sculpture, installation
Internationally renowned and well-known for her use of dense patterns of polka dots and nets, as well as her intense, large-scale environments, Yayoi Kusama works in a variety of media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, film, performance, and immersive installation. Born in Japan in 1929, Kusama came to the United States in 1957 and quickly found herself at the epicenter of the New York avant-garde. She was an influential figure in the postwar New York art scene, staging provocative happenings and exhibiting works such as her “Infinity Nets”, hallucinatory paintings of loops and dots (and physical representations of the idea of infinity). Narcissus Garden, an installation of hundreds of mirrored balls, earned Kusama notoriety at the 1966 Venice Biennale, where she attempted to sell the individual spheres to passersby. Kusama is often considered an influence on Andy Warhol and a precursor to Pop art. Since her return to Japan in the 1970s, Kusama's work has continued to appeal to the imagination and the senses, including dizzying walk-in installations, public sculptures, and the "Dots Obsessions" paintings.
Acrylic, gouache, graphic design
Ryuto Miyake is an illustrator and graphic designer based in Tokyo. Ryuto now works for clients ranging from record labels to architecture practices and a museum.
20-year-old Japanese photography student Izumi Miyazaki arranges her daydreams into surreal photographs that are filled with deadpan humor. Each photo is manipulated so that the mundane becomes a little more magical. Miyazai started a Tumblr in 2012 to share her creative output with the world. Her work revolves around herself, captured in suburban scenes and private spaces mixed with absurdity and humor with an element of realness usually associated with street photography. Rarely is anyone else visible in her pictures, making Miyazaki the sole star in this fictitious world. When asked about her preference for selfies, she explains that she grew up as a lonely child: “I don’t feel lonely when I make and watch photos of a double me.” By putting herself in the spotlight as the main subject, Miyazaki frees herself to being able to play with subtle changes in expression. Her photographs also call upon themes of identity and coming of age purely based on context.
Born in 1986 in Tottori prefecture, Shohei Morimoto is an illustrator and painter currently based in Japan. He graduated with a degree in Visual Design Course from Kuwasawa Design Laboratory.
Printmaking, lithograph, acrylic, canvas
One of the most acclaimed artists to emerge from postwar Asia, Takashi Murakami — “the Warhol of Japan” — is known for his contemporary Pop synthesis of fine art and popular culture, particularly his use of a boldly graphic and colorful anime and manga cartoon style. Murakami became famous in the 1990s for his “Superflat” theory and for organizing the paradigmatic exhibition of that title, which linked the origins of contemporary Japanese visual culture to historical Japanese art. His output includes paintings, sculptures, drawings, animations, and collaborations with brands such as Louis Vuitton. “Japanese people accept that art and commerce will be blended; and in fact, they are surprised by the rigid and pretentious Western hierarchy of “high art’,” Murakami says. “In the West, it certainly is dangerous to blend the two because people will throw all sorts of stones. But that’s okay — I’m ready with my hard hat.”
Graphic design, photographer
With a knack for being able to blur the lines between graphic design, fashion and contemporary art, Rikako Nagashima has established herself as one of Japan’s most exciting and important designers. Her projects and collaborations are plentiful, beautiful and bold, often using natural objects and handmade processes to create unique visual works that transcend any commercial interpretation of what design may be. Nagashima was born in a small rural village in Japan and moved to Tokyo for school, where she studied art.
Digital illustration, marker, graphic design
Hisashi Okawa is an artist living and working in Tokyo. Her illustrations appear very simple and naïve. Her colourful, dotted-eyed characters convey the artist’s humor.
Illustration, graphic design
Ryu Okubo says “in daily life, motif and events that moved my heart enough to conceive concept of works and exhibitions seem casual and are not much of a surprise.” For him, the trivial happening such as “dropped my iPhone” is sufficient motivation enough to draw pieces of painting.
Ink, paper, vellum, woodcut, print
Born in 1945 in Miyazaki, Japan, Japanese master Toshi Saeki gained notoriety in the 1970’s for his avant garde approach, connecting traditional Japanese art styles such as Shunga (erotica) and Yokaiga (mythology) with postmodern radical pop art culture. Celebrated cross culturally, Saeki has also been immortalized in the Ju-on horror films which play homage to his child spirit and has contributed album artwork for several international musicians including John Lennon and Yoko Ono. He presently lives and works in the small town of Ichihara, Chiba, Japan. Saeki’s artwork draws from the basement of a collective subconscious, depicting universal taboos through surreal narratives and dark humor. Filtering imagery from his photographic memory and childhood experiences through imagination and dreams, Saeki splits open a universally erotic world where iconic characters subject themselves to grotesque behaviours staged within traditional Japanese environments. Accessing the traditional Japanese partnership employed by the Ukioy-e woodcut masters, Saeki creates his original works as black and white ink drawings which he then overlays with vellum sheets hand marked with colour plans for the visualized finished image. As an “eshi” (artist) he passes his designs to a “surishi” (printer) and they are developed into the final work. Saeki refers to his method of practice as Chinto printing. Through harmonizing provocative contemporary imagery with traditional Japanese culture, Saeki’s work transcends time, weaving fantastically grotesque and abstract narratives that are at once are at once startlingly indecorous yet remarkably alluring.
Painting, acrylic, performance art
Co-founder of the Japanese avant-garde collective the Gutai Art Group in the 1950s, Shozo Shimamoto pioneered action painting, performance art, and mail art, with a prevailing concern for the tension between the element of chance and the artist’s control. Early in his career, while painting on newspaper, he accidentally punctured the surface—an entirely chance event that he would transform into a formal, repetitive operation. He began a career-long study of the violent encounter with the surface of the painting, primarily through the creation of holes and cuts. Painting in vivid color and forming abstract forms with irregularly patterned holes, Shimamoto found that his gestures left a record of the artist’s physical action and gave the image a performative element. He eventually expanded his practice into live performance, often staging the creation of his paintings for a live audience.
72-year-old Kishin Sonoyama is a cultural phenomenon whose popularity reaches far beyond the world of photography. Recognizing the value of the name and the power of self-promotion early on he has invested in his persona just as much as in his ever-evolving and often extremely polar photographic works. While constantly pushing the boundaries of what's publicly acceptable he never crosses the line, tap dancing on the edge of mainstream and obscene. Kishin Shinoyama's offerings from the 1960's not only document a decade, but are also invaluable to any survey of Tokyo photography from that period. His work reveals much about the era, depicting snapshots of the student protest movement, fashion shows, dancers, avant-garde theatre troops and of course the nude shots that would subsequently form a major motif in his oeuvre. 1960's Japan was a politically charged place experiencing rapid economic growth under the alliance with the United States. Politics, culture, society... this was the decade when 'possibilities' reached a critical point as contradicting elements were forced to react with one another. The photographs emerging from the Japanese capital during this period constitute the place where this metamorphosis occurred in the most radical way, and it was in the midst of this charged atmosphere that Shinoyama was taking his photographs.
Graphic design, illustration
Okuyama Taiki was born in Okayama in 1988. He is currently based in Tokyo, where he is a graphic designer as well as planning and managing bookstores. His creations are catalogued on his blog, Noichigo Source, where he makes all posters available for people to download in .psd or .ai format for people to “play freely.”
After graduating from a technology and communications institute in 2002, Hagihara Takuya acquired experience in a design studio. Since 2009, he has been a freelance graphic designer based in Tokyo, Japan.
Keiichi Tanaami is a seminal figure in Japanese Pop art. “Most of my expressions are based on my actual experiences,” he has said. “The countless amount of stimulative experiences, happenings and encounters…they become the keywords of my expressions.” Best known for his cartoonish and colorful paintings that blend dream figures and references to childhood experiences with pop culture iconography, Tanaami has also worked in video, animation, as well as graphic design and commercial illustration, drawing profound influence from the work of Andy Warhol.
Illustration, graphic design
Utomaru is a Tokyo-based freelance illustrator and graphic designer.
Digital illustration, pen
Wakana Yamazaki is a freelance illustrator based in Tokyo, with her works being used for publications, websites, fashion, etc.. She graduated from Kuwasawa Design School.
Print-making, woodblock, paint
20th century Japanese painter and woodblock printer Hiroshi Yoshida was born in 1876 as the son of an elementary school principal. His artistic talent was discovered early and at the age of 18 he entered a private art school in Tokyo. He is considered one of the leading figures of the renewal of Japanese printmaking after the end of the Meiji period. He is known for his landscape prints that offer an exotic interpretation of the world. The artist was a keen traveller and visited Europe, North America and Asia, and along the way he created numerous prints of non-Japanese subjects done in traditional Japanese woodblock style. Hiroshi was considered part of the shin hanga or “new print” movement, a creative process where the artist, carver, printer and publisher engaged in a division of labour. Yet after 1925, he shed those constraints and participated in each stage of printmaking himself, known as sosaku hanga.
Animation, film, collage, illustration
Yoko Yuki was born in Nagoya. She graduated from Tokyo University of the Arts in the Graduate School of Film and New Media’s Department of Animation. She’s currently living in Tokyo.
Painting, illustration, print
Mimi Leung is a painter, illustrator and printmaker born in Hong Kong and raised in England. Leung studied at Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art in London. Having lived all around the world, her work has popped up in various different settings, including editorial, exhibitions and more. She is now based in Melbourne.
Haein Kim is currently a student at the University of Technology Sydney.